The Resident Evil series is on a slippery slope. With Resident Evil 4 it started down the path of action over horror and, while Resident Evil 4 had it's creepy moments, it was an horror themed action game. With Resident Evil 5 they decided not to hide it anymore. Both games were really good, but they didn't really feel like Resident Evil games. Now, Resident Evil 6 is here and, while it still doesn't feel fully like Resident Evil, it does a lot of things right and it at least provides and entertaining thrill ride.
The story here can get pretty confusing. You can play through a total of four campaigns; three open at the start and one unlocking after the first three are completed. They count as separate games, meaning you can only have one on the go at a time. After completing one, the others are New Game+ where you keep all your skill points. Anyway, each story starts at a different time, so to get the order things happen you'll have to dig into the extras on the menu. The world has gone to Hell in Resident Evil 6. The story opens with a virus taking out an American city and turning everyone, including the president, into zombies, forcing Leon back into the field. Meanwhile, over in Europe, Chris is in a struggle all his own against Neo Umbrella and their J'avo soldiers, creatures similar to the Majini and Ganado from previous game just crazier.
Leon finds out that China is the next target for the new C-Virus and he vows to stop it. Meanwhile, Chris and his squad are sent there fighting Neo Umbrella all the way. It's not the most in-depth story but it can get confusing with the 4 campaigns meeting and it's still enjoyable. If you've been following the Resident Evil series up until now, Resident Evil 6 should please you if you give it a chance.
Gameplay is where people were the most worried. It plays a lot like a mix between Resident Evil 5 and Operation Raccoon City. You can move and shoot, have better mobility, can dodge attacks and crawl. You still can't run and gun, which is a good thing here, and you can't dodge unless you're aiming which is frustrating. The gunplay is handled well, the hitboxes are accurate and guns control well enough and each character gets at least one unique weapon. Melee is a lot different this time around, you can attack at will rather than with context sensitive button presses. This doesn't mean you can just spam them, below your health is a stamina bar that depletes as you use physical strikes or quickshots, fast single shots performed by pressing both triggers at once, and once the gauge is empty you go into a danger state. In this state, one strike knocks you down and can be fatal.
This gauge is a great idea since it can raise the tension due to elevated danger it puts you in. Combine this with a lack of ammo on the normal difficulty equals a game that gets extremely intense. There are some boss fights but they seem to be more endurance rounds than actual fights. Each campaign has a different focus, Leon is focused more on horror featuring the original zombies just improved, Chris focuses on overwhelming action against the mutated enemies and Jake focuses on cinematic action. There are quick-time events, but none get in the way and there aren't a whole lot of them.
The game is still played in co-op at all times and the AI is vastly improved. They still mainly use the handgun but they don't take your ammo, they have infinite, and they can't die unless it's a scripted moment. This is fantastic because Sheva was the cause of some retries in Resident Evil 5 and you can easily rely on them when you're dying. They still have issues but the AI is vastly improved. Of course you can still play with another human being the whole game through which is always great.
The enemies are the best they have ever been. The zombies are more ferocious, the J'avo are insane, they mutate as their bodies are destroyed, and there are multiple B.O.W.s to do battle with. It's a fantastic enemy line-up and it has one of the most terrifying enemies in this type of game. Overall, the game is a blast and it'll take around 20 hours to complete.
The audio is great as well. The music is mostly forgettable but the voice work and sound effects are top notch. The voice work is a saving grace as well considering there are a lot of cinematics and dialogue in the game. The music isn't worth buying a CD for but the voice work carries the game's audio forward.
The visuals are also great. The environments are detailed, dark and enemy infested and, despite having a lot going on at once, the game never dipped. The models look great with great facial animation. The cinematics are awesome and the creatures look scary as Hell. This is an intense looking game and proves that even with an older engine, Capcom has still got it.
- fast, frantic, insane action
- creepy environments
- outstanding enemy design
- can be quite challenging
- lack of ammo in some situations raises tension
- melee at will
- awesome visuals
- great voice work
- lengthy adventure, around 20 hours
- excellent control
- finally able to move and aim
- improved partner AI
- can be played from start to finish in co-op
- can be frustrating
- playing co-op can be harder than playing solo
- unable to dodge without aiming
- more than enough insta-kill, unbreakable attacks
- reliance on partner can make the game harder
- confusing story
- forgettable music
Overall, Resident Evil 6 is one of the most intense games to be released in 2012. It might disappoint some who hoped it was going back to full-on horror but the game is creepy and there are a ton of Oh My God! moments. So sit back and stop the evil!